Sunday, April 23, 2006

Gaza snapshot

Israeli blogger Allison Kaplan Sommer points to Gaza mom-blogger Laila El-Haddad's description of what it's like trying to act normal in a very unstable environment. The place has all the marks of being at the edge of what many would call "civil war." Despite the danger there is a spirit of...what?...dark optimism. Does that make any sense?

I’m writing this and in pitch darkness. Not due to artillery shells, from which we’ve been spared for a whole of 24 hours. But because the friendly folks of al-Aqsa Martrys (or as I like to call them, my friendly neighborhood gunmen) shot our neighborhood’s electricity cables by accident this evening, after hoisting their flag on the now Hamas-dominated Legislative Council in front of my house in protest of recent Hamas statements (someone needs target practice. Then again, better the cable than me.

Last night, they also decide to hold a pre-dawn bash, smack dab in the middle of the city (deciding to "avoid areas populated by Hamas"), which continued until the wee hours of the morning.

...and later:

Today, the clashes spilled over into the rival universities of Al-Azhar (Fateh run) and al-Islamiya (Islamic University, run by Hamas). Apparently, the Fateh student council in al-Islamiya, and later, Al-Azhar students, both plastered the pristine walls of al-Islamiya with condemnatory and accusatory flyers. Push came to shove (quite literally), and though it did not get fatal and weapons were not involved, around 15 people were injured in fistfights, stone throwing, and firebombs.

Amidst the madness, a lone vendor roamed around the angry crowds selling licorice juice to thirsty stone-throwers (honestly, only in Palestine...). All that was missing, joked my cousin, was a kiosk selling souvenirs-perhaps t-shirts and hats stating “anti-Hamas protests 2006-I was there!” I’m sure the local PLO flag shop could make some big bucks.

Licorice juice? Yeech! I'll just have some bottled water, thanks.

If you want a taste of local political humor/irony, check out her next post.
I am reminded of the symbolic humor from Russia and Eastern Europe under Soviet control, the only political protest that could exist under a totalitarian system.

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